Jewish World Review August 1, 2003 / 3 Menachem-Av, 5763
Private journals, public records
I've been a tad unsettled since hearing Senator Bob Graham's
personal journals may become a liability should he run for president. My
husband has kept a journal for as long as I've known him.
Keeping a journal is not a personality characteristic, it is the
result of genetic coding. People who keep journals keep them religiously.
Not even a 12-step program could stop them.
As a matter of fact, if I were to go through a box of my husband's
old baby things, I wouldn't be surprised to find a miniature journal the
size of a matchbook where, as an infant, he recorded the precise time he
entered this world, the temperature high and low that day, the intervals of
his feedings, how many times he was changed, and the cash total he received
from well wishers and visitors. You can see why having boxes full of
journals containing such personal information around the house would make
"Honey, do you think we should shred your journals?" I ask. "I'd
hate to see them become a matter of public scrutiny and end up thrusting
you into the presidential race."
"I have nothing to hide," he says looking up over his glasses
while making yet another entry into his journal.
"Don't talk like that, it makes you sound like a candidate."
"I am not a candidate and I will not run."
"Stop it, now you really sound like a candidate. Seriously, what
could the pundits find if they got their hands on your journal?"
He randomly flips to a page and says, "I suppose they could find
entries like this from Saturday: Read the paper then got a haircut at 8:30.
Planted more grass in the front yard."
"That's it?" I asked. "No titillating tidbits from our wild and
"Well, here's another entry: I worked from 9 until 5:50. Went to
the bank to deposit my mileage check. Lori and I went to corner Mexican
restaurant for dinner then to Half Price Books to use our 40% off coupons.
Very humid. Had thunderstorms in the afternoon."
"There seems to be a lot of weather material in there," I said.
"You don't do storm predictions, do you?"
"No," he says dryly. "You're confusing me with Ben Franklin and
"Ah yes, another politician who kept a journal."
Afer my husband reads a few more entries which largely concerned
weather, I decide the journals will never become a liability. The only ones
outside the family who would be interested in his journal would be the
folks at The Weather Channel, Willard Scott and the meteorological society.
I cheerfully mention this fact and it is met with disdain.
"I'm a facts and figures guy," my husband says. "I like keeping
records and these come in handy when we need to look up dates or
information for medical records, insurance, taxes or just remember what we
did during the year."
"What about the kids' charge that you stalk them in your journal?"
"So maybe I do write down where they go, who they go with and when
they return home. I'm just a father keeping records. I am not a stalker."
"That's right, hon. And Richard Nixon was not a crook."
We read a few more entries about what we did in May, plans that
bombed in April, some family fun we had in March and then we looked at each
"You thinking what I'm thinking?" the husband said.
"Yeah," I answered. "If any of the presidential candidates
journals are this mundane they'll be finished before they ever get started."
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© 2001, Lori Borgman
JWR contributor Lori Borgman is the author of I Was a Better Mother Before I Had Kids. To comment, please click here. To visit her website click here.
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